Christmas in London: Essential Information

Over the Christmas period there are changes to transport and opening times in London. Make sure you know what's happening with our festive practical information guide.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Thursday. There are public holidays for Christmas Day and Boxing Day on the 25 and 26 December. New Year's Day (1 January) also falls on a Thursday and this is a public holiday.

London on Christmas Day

Virtually everything is closed for business on Christmas Day in London. Some places, including banks, remain closed on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas).

Almost all of London's attractions close for at least one day over Christmas, and many close from 24 to 26 December, as well as 1 January. There's considerable variation, so it's a good idea to check directly with specific attractions before travelling. 

Discover all things weird and wonderful at Ripley's Believe It Or Not in Piccadilly, which is open on Christmas Day. There is also a chance to enjoy the traditional Peter Pan Cup Christmas Day race. Since 1904, swimmers have been braving the cold for this outdoor competition in the Serpentine lake. Wrap up warm and cheer them on!

Some pubs and bars open for a few hours on 25 December, so you can pop in and share some Christmas cheer and soak up the special atmosphere. Check with your local pub in advance for opening times.

Public Transport Services over Christmas

Public transport is limited over the Christmas period so make sure you plan your journey in advance.

There is no public transport running on Christmas Day. Make sure you can get home safely on Christmas Eve as there are no night buses and public transport starts to wind down from early evening.

Some taxis are available although they may charge more on Christmas and Boxing Day. You should check details before travelling and book in advance to avoid extended waits.

Check the Transport for London website www.tfl.gov.uk before travelling.

There may be engineering work taking place which will affect train journeys over the Christmas period. Check for the latest updates on www.nationalrail.co.uk

Staying Safe Over Christmas and New Year

Any minicab journey that isn't booked by phone or in a minicab office is illegal, dangerous and puts you at risk of attack.

Simply download the free Cabwise app on your smartphone or text CAB to 60835 to access Transport for London's Cabwise service. You'll receive two minicab numbers and one taxi (black cab) straight back. See tfl.gov.uk/cabwise for full details.

Texts are charged at 35p per enquiry plus the standard text message rate. Roaming rates apply to overseas networks.

Hotels and Restaurants on Christmas Day

Many of London's hotels are open at Christmas and some hotel restaurants are open for Christmas dining on 25 December.

You can find hotel listings and contact details in our Where to Stay section. 

Some restaurants are also open on Christmas Day. You are strongly advised to book your table in advance. You can find restaurant listings and contact details in our Food and Drink in London section. 

If you fancy celebrating on the Thames, try a Christmas Day Lunch Cruise.

New Year's Eve Fireworks Display

Large crowds are expected in central London on New Year's Eve. Most events are ticketed so plan ahead and use public transport.

There will be road closures around the London Eye due to the fireworks display, so plan your night in advance and check www.tfl.gov.uk for updates.

The display is expected to attract large crowds and viewing areas will close once they are full. 

Why not beat the crowds, and watch the fireworks display live on television?

There is limited public transport on New Year's Day, so make sure you plan your journey in advance.

Boxing Day in London - Sale Time!

Activity returns to London on Boxing Day and the January sales start in many London shops.

Public transport also resumes but with a limited service so plan your journey before you leave the house.

More about Christmas in London.

More Ideas

Blog Posts

Read more on the visitlondon.com blog